June brings a month full of Pride for you, me, and all of our fabulous LGBTQA friends. We honor our past, celebrate our accomplishments, fight for the future, gather peacefully, and pick glitter from passing drag queens off of our skin for days.
But not everyone feels a great sense of belonging during this joyous month. There are those who still feel like they don’t fit in our community. Those who do not fit a stereotype or are nervous about being seen by someone in their lives who doesn’t know they are queer. Maybe they have never been invited and are too nervous to admit they are uncomfortable going alone. Or, they feel a small sense of shame that they are several decades into life and have never attended and that shame keeps them home. Whatever the reason, you can make a difference. You can introduce a queer to their community.
I challenge you to invite one person to your chosen Pride celebration that you know would normally skip out. The femme lesbian who has no confidence and feels as if she won’t look as good as the rest of the club. The jock gay man who is nervous about his fellow baseball players knowing that he attended a march for marriage rights. Take them under your seasoned wing, promise them that you won’t leave their side, and bring them out to join the masses. Offer them protection from their fears, which are usually the unknown. The pressures of what to wear, what to bring, what will happen, etc. can be stifling. So, guide them through step by step and don’t take no for an answer. Even if you just watch a dyke march from an overpass or attend a parade for ten minutes, get them out in the crowds of love and rainbows. Once their shoulders relax and they see that the big beautiful queer community isn’t as scary as it seems from afar, they won’t want to leave.
One kind hand reaching out to another is all it takes. One hand can make a difference. One hand changed my life a year ago.